by Hughes Panassie
|"Louis Armstrong is what I call an American standard, and American original. Hughes Panassie is a French original. Put them together and you get a book that I think will prove to be a standart too."
"The days in Chicago with Louis Armstrong were some of the happiest in my life. He influenced every musician who worked with him on one way or another, and thousands and thousands more through his records. Nobody knows those records so well as Hughes Panassie, whose appraisal of them is such a valuable part of this valuable book."
For over fifty years, Louis Armstrong was our preeminent cultural ambassador. He first established jazz, America's authentic art form, as an expression of the most creative individuality; and in so doing, he became its leading soloist and symbolic figure. Anyone who has enjoyed the famous gravel-voiced Louis singing Hello Dolly knows that he accompanied all this while being the consumate entertainer. With his matchless swing, incandescent tone, and bursting vitality, Armstrong could transform any popular tune into music of immortal beauty. Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea, Stardust, On the Sunny Side of the Street, Basin Street Blues, St. James Infirmary, Skit-Dat-De-Dat (the first instance of scat singing)--the list of his classics is endless. Panassie, a pioneer jazz critic and founder of the "Hot Club de France" in 1932, has devoted his career to celebrating his friend's acheivement. The result is this concise, definitive study of the man and his music, form the legendary collaboration with Joe "King" Oliver and the Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions to the imperishible Dixieland records and films of Armstrong's late period. No one can fail to be touched by the personal energy, warmth, and joie de vivre of this great human spirit preserved in these pages.